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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #453: Mass-Split Explosion: Direct/Indirect Workouts

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #453:
Mass-Split Explosion: Direct/Indirect Workouts


Mass-Split Explosion: Direct/Indirect Workouts

Q: I have two questions. I’m using the X-centric Mass Workout with the direct/indirect method. Your program is a three-day split: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then Friday repeats Monday’s workout. Can I just train everything once a week? My work schedule is cramped now, so I want to use the three-way split over Monday, Wednesday and Friday. With the indirect work, each bodypart would get trained twice, right? Will I still make good gains? Also, you have close-grip upright rows as direct trap work and indirect delt work on back day. Is there another exercise I can use? Those hurt my wrists.

A: To help clarify for readers who are unfamiliar with the direct/indirect approach, here is how our split is set up, as listed in the X-centric Mass Workout–note that legs are always trained on Tuesday, with the other two upper-body workouts rotating on M-W-F:

Week 1
Monday: Chest, Back, Abs
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Delts, Arms
Thursday: Off
Friday: Chest, Back + Deadlifts, Abs

Week 2
Monday: Delts, Arms
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Chest, Back, Abs
Thursday: Off
Friday: Delts, Arms

Week 3: Repeat Week 1

The direct/indirect method is in play on almost every bodypart. One good example is rack pulls for delts. We like to lead off shoulders with that exercise, a wide-grip upright row with a slight heave to get the heavy weight to the upper abs. That exercise blasts the medial-delt head and trains traps/upper back indirectly…

Here’s a list of the direct/indirect connections
Delts: Indirect trap hit (rack pulls, overhead presses)
Chest: Indirect triceps hit (pressing)
Back: Indirect biceps hit (pulldowns, rows)
Biceps: Indirect lat hit (undergrip pulldowns)
Triceps: Indirect chest hit (close-grip pulldowns)

Also notice that when back falls on Friday, we do deadlifts, which is indirect work for quads. We also add some calf work on Friday when time allows–and weekend cardio also trains calves to a degree.

If you change the above split to three days per week, it can still work extremely well due to the direct/indirect protocol. In fact, for hardgainer types three days per week will probably work better than four–it’s almost like heavy/light for every bodypart. Here’s a sample of how you can set it up:

Monday: Delts, Arms
Wednesday: Legs
Friday: Chest, Back + Deadlifts, Abs

If you use the exercises we suggest above and in the X-centric Mass Workout, you will be training all bodyparts twice a week in some capacity, with plenty of recovery between hits. It’s an ingenious split, if we do say so ourselves.

Your second question is a substitute for close-grip upright rows on back day for indirect delt work. We’ve discovered an exercise used by legendary bodybuilder Ed Corney, the master poser seen in “Pumping Iron.” It’s called lateral/shrugs. You basically do two-thirds of a lateral raise–not quite to the top–and at the same time you shrug. You’ll feel every rep contract your traps hard as your medial-delt heads fight to keep up. We got sore in both traps AND delts the first time we tried it–and you know how hard it is to get sore delts.

There’s a more extensive look at direct/indirect training in Chapter 12 of The Ultimate Mass Workout, the original X-Rep e-book. That has two different workouts in that style, plus a direct/semi-direct mass strategy.

Q: You guys have so many e-books with so many workouts. I’m not sure where to start. I’m not a beginner, so I need something that’s more advanced. Should I just start with your newest one [The X-centric Mass Workout]?

A: The new e-book is a great place to start, but as you can see from the previous question, the programs in our e-books are templates. You can and should customize them to your individual needs and recovery ability–but you can use them as they are listed, too, of course.

That said, we highly recommend our smorgasbord of routines, X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts. That has 10 complete programs, each based on a specific PROVEN mass-building protocol. You’ll learn about everything from the classics like the 20-Rep Squat routine and Heavy/Light to more recent workouts like Volume/Intensity Fusion and X-Rep Reload. You get complete, printable programs for each of those–10 workouts in all.

One of the most popular workouts from the XMB e-book is the 3D Power Pyramid. It’s a basic two-day split that you do four days a week–Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. You get heavy pyramid work on the big midrange exercise, and then you complete the full-range Positions-of-Flexion chain with stretch- and contracted-position work.

If you’re like us, you’ll refer to the XMB e-book again and again throughout your training career every time you need ideas for a program overhaul. Remember, workout change ignites big-muscle gains!

Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

You can subscribe to this e-zine free at


1) X-Rep Mass Workout Offer: Our 2 BIG best-selling X-Rep e-books–The new X-traordinary X-Rep Workout and Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building. You save $20. For more info, click here.

2) Triple-Shred Discount Fat-Loss Offer: Get our rip-up-for-summer fat-to-muscle e-books, X-treme Lean, X-traordinary Abs and The Fat-to-Muscle Workout. You save up to $35. For more info, click here.


X-SHOP: Find our original X-Rep e-book, as well as X Updates and Positions-of-Flexion mass-training guides…

X-WORKOUTS: Find specialized e-workout programs, including Power-Density, 10×10 and Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock….

NEW: The X-traordinary SIZE SURGE Workout, Jonathan Lawson’s legendary two-phase mass program that packed 20 pounds of muscle on his frame in only 10 weeks. See all the changes he made to the original workouts, transcribed from his training journal. In printable templates so you can duplicate his incredible gains. You also get his eat-to-grow diet and streamlined no-frills supplement schedule, anabolic acceleration methods and loads of tips and tricks. Plus, an interview with a top-level bodybuilder who trains Size Surge style for incredible growth.

Newbies: If you’re a beginning bodybuilder, coming back from a layoff or a trainer who trains beginners, our new e-book, Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide, is for you.

To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.


This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.


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